The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, using its emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021, has issued orders for blocking of eight YouTube based news channels, one (1) Facebook account, and two Facebook posts. The blocked YouTube channels were quite popular and had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crore, and were subscribed by over 85 lakh users. The government said 7 Indian and 1 Pakistan based YouTube news channels are blocked under IT Rules, 2021.
According to a statement by the government, the purpose of the content published by some of these YouTube channels was to spread hatred among religious communities in India. False claims were made in various videos of the blocked YouTube channels.
“Examples include fake news such as the Government of India to have ordered demolition of religious structures; Government of India to have banned celebration of religious festivals, declaration of religious war in India, etc. Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country,” said the IT ministry.
“The YouTube channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign States,” it said.
Accordingly, the content was covered within the ambit of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, added the statement.
Explaining the ‘modus operandi’, the government said, “The blocked Indian YouTube channels were observed to be using fake and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic.”
All the YouTube channels blocked by the Ministry were displaying advertisements on their videos “having false content detrimental to communal harmony, public order and India’s foreign relations.”
With this action, since December 2021, the Ministry has issued directions for blocking 102 YouTube based news channels and several other social media accounts.
List of YouTube channels blocked on August 18, 2022
Loktantra Tv- 23,72,27,331 views, 12.90 lakh subscribers
U&V TV- 14,40,03,291 views, 10.20 lakh subscribers
AM Razvi- 1,22,78,194 views, 95, 900 subscribers
Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal: 15,99,32,594 views, 7 lakh subscribers
SeeTop5TH: 24,83,64,997 views, 33.50 lakh subscribers
Sarkari Update: 70,41,723 views, 80,900 subscribers
Sab Kuch Dekho: 32,86,03,227 views, 19.40 lakh subscribers
News ki Dunya (Pakistan based): 61,69,439 views, 97,000 subscribers
Total: Over 114 crore views, 85 lakh 73 thousand subscribers